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Transformational Processes in Clinical Psychoanalysis: Dreaming, Emotions and the Present Moment
Brown, Lawrence
IPA and Routledge / Karnac Books / Softcover / 2018-10-01 / 1138323926
reg price: $60.50 our price: $ 51.43
274 pages
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In this book, Lawrence J. Brown offers a contemporary perspective on how the mind transforms, and gives meaning to, emotional experience that arises unconsciously in the here-and-now of the clinical hour. Brown surveys the developments in theory and practice that follow from Freud’s original observations and traces this evolution from its conception to contemporary analytic field theory.

Brown emphasizes that these unconscious transformational processes occur spontaneously, in the blink of an eye, through the "unconscious work" in which the analyst and patient are engaged. Though unconscious, these processes are accessible and the analyst must train himself to become aware of the subtle ways he is affected by the patient in the clinical moment. By paying attention to one’s reveries, countertransference manifestations and even supposed "wild" or extraneous thoughts, the analyst is able to obtain a glimpse of how his unconscious is transforming the ambient emotions of the session in order to formulate an interpretation.

Brown casts a wide theoretical net in his exploration of these transformational processes and builds on the contributions of Freud, Theodor Reik, Bion, Ogden, the Barangers, Cassorla, Civitarese and Ferro. Bion’s theories of alpha function, transformations, dreaming and his clinical emphasis on the present moment are foundational to this book. Brown’s writing is clear and aims to describe the various theoretical ideas as plainly as possible. Detailed clinical material is given in most chapters to illustrate the theoretical perspectives. Brown applies this theory of transformational processes to a variety of topics, including the analyst’s receptivity, countertransference as transformation, the analytic setting, the paintings of J.M.W. Turner, "autistic transformations" and other clinical situations in the analysis of children and adults.

Transformational Processes in Clinical Psychoanalysis will be of great interest to all psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.


"This book, by one of the leading North American psychoanalysts, shows us, in a clear and profound way, the vicissitudes of the transformation processes that occur in the intersubjective analytic field… The reader will be charmed by his original ideas…The richness of the text, his fascinating writing and the illustration with very interesting clinical situations make the reader feel included in creative relationships with the author and the characters of the text…."-Roosevelt Cassorla, author of The Psychoanalyst, The Theater of Dreams and the Clinic of Enactment, Siguorney Award Winner, 2017

"This outstanding book is one of the most original and valuable contributions to appear in the field of psychoanalysis for many years. In a remarkably instructive, perceptive and lucid way, Lawrence Brown explores the instantaneous unconscious communications between patient and analyst that have transformative power and that lie at the heart of the analytic process and its capacity to effect change. This is groundbreaking work that should be required reading for therapists of every persuasion."-Theodore Jacobs, author of The Possible Profession: The Analytic Process of Change, and The Use of the Self: Countertransference and Communication in the Analytic Situation

Table of Contents

Series Editor Foreword by Gabriela Legorreta
Preface by Giuseppe Civitarese
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: From Countertransference to Transformations
Chapter 3: Bion’s Discovery of Alpha Function: The Engine of Transformations
Chapter 4: Bion’s Transformations and Clinical Practice
Chapter 5: The Analyst’s Receptivity: Evolution of the Concept and Its Clinical Application
Chapter 6: Ruptures in the Analytic Setting and Disturbances in the Transformational Field Dreams
Chapter 7: The Unbearable Glare of Living: The Sublime, Bion’s Theory of ‘O’ and J. M. W. Turner, ‘Painter of Light’"
Chapter 8: Three Unconscious Pathways to Representing the Analyst’s Experience: Reverie, Countertransference Dreams and Joke-Work
Chapter 9: Autistic Transformations I: From Ashes to Ashes: The Heroic Struggle of an Autistic Boy Trying to be Born and Stay Alive
Chapter 10: Autistic Transformations II: The Capacity to Tell a Joke: Reflections from Work with Asperger’s Children
Chapter 11: "Notes on Memory and Desire": Implications for Working Through
Chapter 12: Conclusion: On Freud’s "The Question of a Weltanschauung" – A World of Perpetual Transformation?

About the Author

Lawrence J. Brown trained in adult and child psychoanalysis and is a faculty member and supervising child analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute (BPSI), USA. He is also a supervising and personal analyst at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis. Brown has lectured internationally and published papers on a variety of topics, including the Oedipal situation, Bion, intersubjectivity, field theory and autistic phenomena.

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